From: Near Barooga
To: 1904 Beach
Distance to Go: 1904km
I am back on the river! After my abrupt extraction from the river last week due to the Victorian snap lockdown, I am now back and paddling again.
For the last 5 days I have been hanging out at my parents place at Binalong (about 400km from the river) waiting for Victoria to work out what it was doing with the 7 day lock down. Kath and James (and the dog) came down for a few days and it was nice to be able to hang out with them. While I was there, I spent some time looking at the map and I worked out a way that I could paddle the next 6 days to Echuca/Moama without needing to camp or go onto the Victorian side of the river. This involved finding ways of splitting up the days so that I could camp in the Murray Valley National and Regional Parks, which are spread out along the NSW side of the river.
So last night, Mum, Dad and I drove back down to Barooga (the town near where I stopped last week) and spent the night at one of the local motels. They were pretty happy to have us there, because with the border being essentially closed and it being a border town, they had barely anyone staying there all week.
After an early breakfast at the nearby cafe, we drove the 15km upstream to the point that I got out of the water last week. At around 8.30am I was on the water and paddling again. The body took a while to warm up after nearly a week of not paddling. It was a very nice sunny morning without much in the way of wind. I only had around 39km to paddle today, so I just took my time and enjoyed being on the water again.
Around lunchtime, I made it to Cobram, which is a largish town on the Victorian side (across the river from Barooga). I obviously wasn’t able to get out to have a look, so I had to settle for a quick drone flight up to have a look from the air. While I was having my lunch I was able to watch the Victorian (acting) Premier’s press conference where he was announcing the plans for the lockdown. Currently the plan is that Melbourne is going to remained locked down for at least another week, however regional Victoria will start opening up again (with lots of restrictions) at midnight tomorrow night. None of this really impacts this week’s paddle to Echuca because I will continue to remain on the NSW side, however it will make life a lot easer when I have to paddle from Echuca to Swan Hill because I need to be able to restock with food at Swan Hill and there is nothing on the NSW side of the river. We just need to see what the NSW Premier says about any restrictions of people crossing the NSW/Victorian border but I am guessing it won’t be an issue, they will probably just stop people going to and from Melbourne.
After lunch, I continued down the river for a couple of hours and found my planned campsite in the Murray Valley National Park at a place called “1904 Beach”. It is called this because funnily enough it is where the 1904km marker is. It is a nice spot right on the edge of the water. It is going to rain tonight, so I have been able to set up a tarp over my tent to help keep things a bit dry.
Tomorrow is a really short day, with only 30km to paddle. It was the only way I could make the distances work so that I would have a National Park to camp in. I will be going past Tocumwal (home of the Big Murray Cod) around lunchtime, so if it isn’t raining I might stop off there for lunch and a look around.
I am now just sitting in the dark, by a small fire, feeling the lightest of rain drops falling on me and my laptop. I think I need to head into the tent before the rain gets heavier.